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Genetics. 1996 Jul;143(3):1369-81.

Demographic genetics of brown trout (Salmo trutta) and estimation of effective population size from temporal change of allele frequencies.

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Division of Population Genetics, Stockholm University, Sweden.


We studied temporal allele frequency shifts over 15 years and estimated the genetically effective size of four natural populations of brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) on the basis of the variation at 14 polymorphic allozyme loci. The allele frequency differences between consecutive cohorts were significant in all four populations. There were no indications of natural selection, and we conclude that random genetic drift is the most likely cause of temporal allele frequency shifts at the loci examined. Effective population sizes were estimated from observed allele frequency shifts among cohorts, taking into consideration the demographic characteristics of each population. The estimated effective sizes of the four populations range from 52 to 480 individuals, and we conclude that the effective size of natural brown trout populations may differ considerably among lakes that are similar in size and other apparent characteristics. In spite of their different effective sizes all four populations have similar levels of genetic variation (average heterozygosity) indicating that excessive loss of genetic variability has been retarded, most likely because of gene flow among neighboring populations.

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